Issue 2-1, News

News: AJE and other conferences

We hope you have enjoyed this latest issue if Journalism Education. We publish towards the end of the academic year as teaching blends into assessment followed by the conference season.

And it is certainly a lively conference season for AJE members this year. First we have the AJE conference in Newcastle on June 20 and 21 looking at Journalism and Journalism Education post-Leveson. Full details of what it has to offer follow. Alongside it runs the International Communication Association conference in London from June 17 to 21 with the theme Challenging Communication Research. For those with plenty of stamina (and decent budgets) these are followed by the International Association for Media, Communication and Research conference in Dublin from June 25-29 with the theme of “Crises, ‘creative destruction’ and the Global Power and Communication Orders”. The conference website sells the conference as engaging with the concepts of crisis and “creative destruction”, associated with historically-rare periods of intensified flux, change and all-round, multi-dimensional processes of innovation. The theme invites reflections on whether or how the current deep economic/financial crisis and its attendant gales of “creative destruction” may promote deep, fundamental or multiple shifts in the geo-political and communication orders globally.

Finally there is the World Journalism Education Congress in Mechelen, Belgium. This will take place on July 3-5 with the theme of Renewing Journalism through Education. The AJE is a founder member of the World Journalism Education Council and will be sending representatives to its meeting as usual. Several AJE members will also be presenting papers at the congress. If you are not already registered, go to and sign up.

With our own conference looking at journalism education post-Leveson, we expect our next edition of the journal to be Leveson-heavy and so we have limited his appearances in this edition apart from the editorial update on the political follow up since publication of the report and our last edition. The editors also thought it important to include an article posing questions about the future for journalism education.

This year’s annual AJE conference will be held in Newcastle on June 20 and 21 and is set to provide the first extensive review of what this means for journalism education.

The Leveson report has given rise to serious reflection by everyone involved in journalism, not least journalism educators. Although attention over the past couple of months has focused on the Royal Charter and regulatory system, the inquiry has raised many other issues which are of great concern to those preparing students for careers in journalism and the wider media fields.

The AJE is uniquely situated to host these debates and its annual conference in June presents a timely opportunity to address these issues. This conference also provides the forum to reflect on some of the falsehoods that have been promulgated in the wider media debates. Two of the key speakers at the conference, Professor Natalie Fenton of Goldsmith’s College, London, and Mike Jempson, Director of Mediawise, have been accused by Andrew Gilligan in a Sunday Telegraph article (April 14) of being part of an EU conspiracy to impose state control of the press. (This report and two others are subject to a complaint to the PCC). Professor Fenton will be speaking on the current issues facing journalism professionals and educators, post-Leveson. As a director and spokesperson of Hacked Off, Natalie can also share her insights from the Leveson inquiry and the current significance of the royal charter. Mike Jempson will be delivering a paper on post-Leveson newsrooms and how journalism educators can prepare students for the changing culture of the media industries.

The opening talks on Thursday will set an energetic, critical and engaging tone for the conference. First up, John Mair, Head of Journalism at Northampton University, will be delivering a paper on the British tabloid press and media ethics. Mark Blacklock Freelance journalist and Newcastle University visiting lecturer) will argue that it is time to give students the tools they need to resist bullying, the courage to defy their peers and support frameworks to deal with ethically hostile environments. Lisa Hardisty (Northumbria University) will present a paper proposing that, despite the vast attention given to the ethics training student journalists receive, journalism educators can only play a limited role in changing the culture of journalism practice due to deeply engrained attitudes within industry and more senior, managerial roles.

The first day of the conference will also feature a panel discussion by Professor Chris Frost,(Liverpool John Moores University) Tony Harcup (Sheffield University), Michelle Stanistreet (NUJ General Secretary) and Mike Jempson (University of the West of England and Director of MediaWise). Frost and Harcup have both published renowned books on media ethics and regulation, Stanistreet and Frost have both given evidence to Leveson and have both, in consequence, suffered the wrath of some elements of the national press. Jempson has spent more than 20 years at the helm of MediaWise (formerly PressWise) representing a host of ordinary people who have suffered from misrepresentation in the press.

Our second keynote speaker on Friday will be Dr Janet Harris, (Cardiff University). Harris will be providing an account of journalism in hostile environments through her experience as an embedded reporter in Iraq. Janet’s account will address some of the challenges journalism educators face in preparing students for such environments, and demonstrating how her own research and engagement with critical theory has improved her journalistic practice.

Since the conference seeks to address such constructive and progressive synergies between theory and practice in journalism studies and education, David Baines and Dr Darren Kelsey will be sharing their research that proposes long term changes in newsroom and news business culture. Due to a number of high quality contributions the conference programme will be intense, with many papers packed into the agenda. Herman Wasserman, Professor of Journalism at Rhodes University, South Africa, will deliver a paper (by video link) on current controversies surrounding media regulation in South Africa.

The conference promises to deliver and provoke some fascinating thoughts and insights. As well as the above, there are high quality papers addressing journalism cultures, ethics, pand pedagogy post-Leveson.

Other speakers include:

Barnie Choudhury (Lincoln University); Deirdre O’Neill (Leeds Trinity University); Jonathan Hewett (City University, London); William Horsley (Centre for Freedom of the Media, Sheffield University); Prof Steve Knowlton and Neil O’Boyle (Dublin City University); Tingting Li (Newcastle University); Ekmel Gecer (Loughborough University).

Other topics include:

Teaching Ethics; Journalism in a Hostile Environment; Codes and Regulations; A Global View of Media Ethics; National and International Perspectives on Issues Raised by Leveson.; Reporting Politics; Journalism’s Relationships with the Police; Political Economy and Media Ownership; Can We Learn Lessons from History?; and Educating Journalists for a Rapidly Changing World of Work. We look forward to seeing you there!

Date: Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21

Registration: Thursday, from 1pm: Friday, from 9.30am

Conference fee is £20 for members (£25 for non-members) payable at registration or on Eventbrite. Please confirm attendance on Eventbrite 

For further details please go to the AJE website.